Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Everything is a Soap Opera

Anderson Cooper is my new Phil Donahue.

I have always loved Anderson.  But after watching his new daytime talk show I love him even more.  I just watched the interview with his mother Gloria Vanderbilt.  Fascinating.

I loved Phil Donahue too.  As a kid, I would watch him after school.  I remember wondering how people got the phone number because I totally wanted to call in and ask him for help.  It usually had to do with my mother, what hasn't in my life?

A few years ago I sent an email to Dr. Phil asking for help with my dear mother.  My very private sister even said she would go on the show if he could help us know what to do.  He never emailed back.

It is no secret that I love television and movies and all things entertainment.  I used to call myself a pop culturalist so it sounded better.  More artsy.  More intelligent.  But really, I am the girl that grew up on soap operas, game shows and talk shows.  And now I am the woman who looks to talk show hosts for guidance, reality shows to feel better about myself and all the other shows to make me happy.

And the new season of television does make me happy.  It feels a little like Christmas--busy, happy and a bit overwhelming.  And just like Christmas, I will get let down and cry.  No I am just kidding.  It is all good times.  I thank God over and over for the invention of the DVR.  

Even before Tivo, I was a master at being able to keep up with shows 20 years ago.  At one point I watched every daytime soap opera on the air by flipping channels.  I could probably tell you more about storylines from "Guiding Light," "Another World" and "All My Children" than I could about stuff that was happening in real life back then.  That sentence didn't seem so disturbing in my head.  And yes, I was going to school during this time in my life.  

In high school, one of my teachers, Mrs. Maxwell, reached out to me and changed my life.  She taught history.  She looked a little bit like George Washington and some mean kids used to put her face on fake one dollar bills.  I spent a lot of time talking in class, showing up late and kind of spacing out in a daydream fog.  

But Mrs. Maxwell liked me for some reason.  One day after class she pulled me aside and said, "If you don't stop talking in class and paying attention your mom is going to be pissed."  She hadn't met my mother yet obviously.  My mother usually spent conferences crying to the teachers about her sad life and not caring too much about what was happening at school.  

When she could see her comment didn't reach me, she kept trying.  We talked about what I did after school.  We talked about what TV shows I liked.  She told me if I thought of the Roman Empire as one great big soap opera it might change how I acted in class and I might actually be interested in learning about history.

"All My Children" goes off the air this week and I will be having a moment of silence.  

Well, I did and it certainly did make a difference.  I got an A in Mrs. Maxell's history class.  And from then on, I thought of everything as a soap opera.  Not so sure that is what Mrs. Maxwell was going for, but I ran with it.

So I may be into TV a little too much, but I think it has made my real life more interesting.  Maybe I have to believe that, but it is working for me.

And I have to stop writing so I can go watch "Dancing with the Stars," "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," "Anderson," "Young and the Restless" and I am going to be picking up "Parenthood" this year.  And I can't wait for "Modern Family" and "The Good Wife" season premieres.  Oh my, I could go on and on.

And yes, I just might send an email or find the number to call Anderson Cooper.  Maybe he will be the one that finally helps me with my mother.  Until then, I will enjoy the soap opera of life.

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